We kick off this year’s Year of the Spy retrospective with Richard Donner’s swinging Salt & Pepper starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford. This big studio caper concerns two nightclub owners that become unwitting (witless?) participants in matter of British national security when a spy turns up dead in their club and MI5 hires them to help foil the plan.
Salt & Pepper is first a comedy — if you couldn’t tell — but Salt & Pepper goes off the mainstream rails when it incorporates a couple of relatively unsettling scenes of violence. For a comedy. I’ll defer to this quote from Roger Ebert’s review from October of 1968 to summarize the audience at which Salt & Pepper is aimed. It says all you need to know about the film in one sentence of criticism. It is both a ringing endorsement for our purposes and certain damnation for an average moviegoing audience.
“About the first thing we learn in the movie is that Sammy Davis Jr., plays Salt and Peter Lawford plays Pepper. But Davis is black and Lawford is white — get it? If you found it funny, this is your movie.”
#Bond_age_ kicks off YEAR OF THE SPY 1968 with Richard Donner’s Salt & Pepper on Wednesday, January 31st at 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
For our first Ladies Night broadcast of 2018, we’re starting back up with the other lovely lady from The Man with the Golden Gun. And truth be told I’ve been looking for an excuse to screen this movie for #Bond_age_ for a long time now.
Killer Force (aka The Diamond Mercenaries) offers a certain brand of Ocean’s Eleven heist elements mixed with lazy ensemble action movie cliches and a general distaste for filmmaking logic. The bottom line is that Killer Force features Peter Fonda, Christopher Lee, Telly Savalas, O.J. Simpson, and, of course Maud Adams. It’s intermittently plodding (perfect for live tweet reflection), mostly stupid and occasionally divinely over the top. It’s the live tweet you never knew you needed.
Join #Bond_age_ for Ladies Night: Maud Adams — the Killer Force Live Tweet on Wednesday, January 24th @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
Many Cruisemoons have passed since our last Tom Cruising Live Tweet event. For those keeping track of such things, that was Days of Thunder way back in August.
The hell you say!
Hell yes, I say.
Tom Cruise is back on #Bond_age_ with the movie he made right before Risky Business and right after The Outsiders, which in retrospect may have been a better movie to view because it also has Patrick Swayze and Ralph Macchio! NEVERTHELESS WE ARE HERE TO TALK TOM CRUISE NOT THE SWAYZE. Though a future series of #Swayz_age_ is not out of the question.
Losin’ It (1983) is a not entirely uninspired teen sex comedy set in 1965 starring Tom Cruise, Jackie Earle Haley and Shelley Long. A bunch of horny, awkward high school boys head off to Tijuana for a wild night and in the process take on the company of a heartbroken and eccentric housewife. It’s all very dumb and more than worth a riff or two. Most notable is that this is director Curtis Hanson’s first mainstream film after toiling in cheap genre films throughout the 1970’s. For those that don’t recognize the name offhand, Hanson went on to direct L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys and 8 Mile, among other notables.
Anti-Cruisers will enjoy how little respect the characters in this movie have for the Cruise.
Join #Bond_age_ on Wednesday January 17th @ 9pm ET for another edition of TOM CRUISING featuring Losin’ It!
This week #Bond_age_ turns five. Like telling “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve let’s share some #Bond_age_ origin-story nostalgia.
Five years ago, a few Twitter acquaintances jumped on my enthusiasm for Skyfall and suggested I write a regular column about James Bond to be posted on a literary magazine. One essay per movie. Then I had one further bright idea. I thought it would be fun to host a live tweet for each movie and write the essay based on thoughts and suggestions culled from the experience. What did I know about live tweeting? I was aware of #TCMParty and had been recently turned onto #DriveInMob. It was certainly one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” kind of things.
I initiated that first Dr. No live tweet on December 12th, 2012 with my regular “INITIATE MISSION” call to arms and mentioned how the opening Bond theme still managed to thrill after hundreds of Bond viewings. I had pages and pages of movie info and factoids about the production. And one person showed up. I am indebted to @jennjaysleafs for joining me on that first evening. Hell, everyone that’s ever enjoyed a #Bond_age_ live tweet during these last five years owes a small debt to her. If she didn’t show up that first night, I might not have continued with the live tweet portion of the series. One person became two for From Russia With Love the next week.The other was the editor of the literary magazine that was publishing the Bond essays so I wasn’t exactly emboldened by the turnout.
I returned after the holidays to give the live tweet thing a shot through Thunderball. This is where @CulturalGutter and @DriveInMob came to the rescue. They may not even remember at this point that they helped promote these live tweets and kickstarted the project. By the time we live tweeted Thunderball on January 16th, we had a proper #Bond_age_ turnout… and yada yada yada here I am in 2017 still doing this.
Enough of that detour down memory lane. This year the #Bond_age_versary falls on the 20th Anniversary of the release of TOMORROW NEVER DIES so that’s conveniently what we’re watching.
Join #Bond_age_ to celebrate the #Bond_age_versary 5 and the 20th Annivesary of Tomorrow Never Dies at 9pm Et on December 13th, 2017. Use #Bond_age_ and #TND20 hashtags.
We are Bond fans. Bond fans watch James Bond. Good Bond. Bad Bond. The rule says we will watch it. The movie that’s always put that rule to the test was 2002 special effects and CGI extravaganza, Die Another Day, aka Bond xXx, aka Jesus Bond Rises Again. But the #Bond_age_ treatment presents the loophole most Bond fans need to get over their Die Another Day hesitancy — good goddamn Twatter and the company of cynical friends.
Die Another Day was the first Bond film I saw in the theater with my wife (then girlfriend). I remember being largely speechless upon exiting the theater. Searching for some explanation for what we’d just seen. She wasn’t a Bond fan, and I’d pinned a lot of hopes on this film to help her see the light. Suffice to say, I’d have to wait until Casino Royale in 2006 to make that final conversion.
Join #Bond_age_ for the “celebration” of 15 years of disillusionment, I mean Die Another Day, on Wednesday, November 15th @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag and sprinkle in #DAD15 to confuse the interwebs.
Every so often the stars align in the #Bond_age_ universe. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes with much forethought. Okay, maybe not “much forethought.” “Some forethought” maybe. When I first started the Ladies’ Night series of live tweets to celebrate the women of the James Bond films, I went through the list and picked the movies I’d like to live tweet. When I arrived at Britt Ekland, I stumbled. How could I pick just one. Let’s be honest here; Britt Ekland made a lot of movies worthy of #Bond_age_ live tweet fodder. I left that box on the Excel spreadsheet blank.
As I input the dates into the calendar, roughly one per month, I noticed that Ms. Ekland’s date fell in October. Without hesitation, I went back to my Ladies’ Night spreadsheet and typed in:
WICKER MAN, M’F’ERS.
Christopher Lee. Britt Ekland. Halloween. Not since the great Zardoz live tweet of 2016 had I had the opportunity to program something as batcrap unusual as the original 1973 Wicker Man. Unsettling and unlike anything you’ve ever seen, The Wicker Man serves up a delicious Christopher Lee performance and more WTF moments than one live tweet can handle. But goshdarnit we’re professionals by now and we’ll roast it with the best of them.
Join #Bond_age_ on Wednesday, October 25th for the First Annual (?) #Bond_age_ Spook_tacular_ live tweet of THE WICKER MAN. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag. Programming begins at 9pm ET. The embed will go live on Wednesday.